Stress is something often associated with the hustle and bustle of the work world, but it doesn’t end after retirement. In fact, older adults can have a tougher time coping with stress than their younger counterparts. Whether you’re taking care of a loved one, dealing with your own ailments, or handling common stressors like family disagreements or finances, stress is a part of life at any age.
But there’s good news. There are a few small things you can do every day to reduce your stress levels and improve your own physical and mental well-being. Here are some tips to help you reduce stress in your day-to-day life.
The first step in reducing stress is being aware of what’s causing it. If you find yourself in a caretaker role, getting help with that can make a big difference, even if it’s just an hour or two a day. Use that time to do something for yourself like spending time with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Chances are, a loved one will be more than happy to step in and help if you let them know issues like family conflict or finances are weighing on you.
Remain Physically Active
You may think that exercise keeps you in shape physically, but did you know it helps out mentally, as well? Exercise is a known stress reducer, boosting endorphins and giving you that feeling known as “runner’s high.” In addition to that chemical boost, you also will typically find that you tend to enter a form of meditation while you’re engaged in physical exercise, particularly if it’s something repetitive like walking or swimming. Even mild forms of exercise can keep stressful feelings at bay, as well as giving you physical fitness benefits.
Do Breathing Exercises
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of meditation, but you don’t have to pull out a yoga mat and commit to hours of deep breathing to put it in practice. When you start to feel stressed, simply take a deep breath in, hold it, then let it out. Repeat as necessary. You’ll quickly find that your heart rate starts to slow down and the tension begins to release.
Find Your Happiness
At this point in your life, you deserve to do the things that make you happy. Yes, you’ll still have those daily responsibilities that aren’t quite so fun, but a good part of your day should be taken up with activities you enjoy. Set some time aside to play board games, take a fun class, or have coffee each morning with a good friend. Although spending some time reading and watching your favorite TV shows can be fun, socializing with others brings its own stress-reduction benefits, including boosting your spirits and cognitive function.
Stress affects us at all stages of life, so it’s important to find healthy ways to combat it. Staying both physically and mentally active can help you keep stress at bay, while also providing plenty of other health benefits. If you’d like to know how Walker Methodist helps older adults stay mentally and physically healthy, check out our fitness programs.